Harrison Ford hasn’t always been the biggest team player in the Star Wars universe. Unlike Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, his career outstripped the Star Wars fandom, and there was a time when he acted like he was slightly above it all, including making fun of George Lucas’ writing skills. Most of all, he seemed irritated that his character survived the series at all, famously claiming he wished Solo had been killed off at the end of Return of the Jedi.
But time, and perspective (not to mention a huge wave of nostalgia, and probably a nice paycheck) seems to have softened our favorite scruffy looking nerf herder. In a wide ranging interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ford admits: “I was glad that the character was still alive for me to play in this new iteration.”
“Well, he’s been living with me — out back, in the shack,” he says. And Ford has come to some conclusions about what’s become of the rascal. “[Thirty-two] years is going to put some rings on the tree, some experience in the bank. You might make an elaborate conjecture [about who Solo is now], but I think we answer that question in the film. It’s best left answered there.”
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As the interviewer points out, Ford is a lot like Han Solo in real life, and we’re not just talking about Ford’s love of flying. (Or his bad ass crash landings either.) His gruff exterior masks a good hearted soul. He may play the cynical one, but he’s always willing to believe int he end. Also, he’s resourceful. As many fans know, Ford’s crash landing wasn’t his only major accident during the three year period that The Force Awakens was in production. He also had his leg broken by the Millennium Falcon.
While director J.J. Abrams and others tried to pry the massive chunk of metal off the wounded actor, Ford started thinking ahead. “I knew that my leg was likely broken, and I didn’t know what other injuries there were,” he says. “I was mostly concerned about the long ambulance ride to London.” The accident happened at Pinewood Studios, about 20 miles outside the city. “I asked them to bring my cell phone over.” While Abrams strained his back trying to move the door, Ford called his buddy from the park with the air ambulance. He arranged his own medevac to the hospital.
I suppose it pays to have friends who know how to fly.
Speaking of his cynical side, Ford still tries to play that he’s too cool for school to get hyped over the new movie. When asked if he watched the Monday Night Football trailer, he at first grumps that he was trying to watch the game.
Only grudgingly does he admit that everything stopped for a moment at his home with (wife Calista) Flockhart and their son while it aired. But just for a moment. “We were in the middle of preparing dinner and doing homework, and…” He shrugs. “Just watching it over our shoulder.”
Uh huh. Watching it over your shoulder. Sure big guy. I suppose you do have your moments though.
Ford says that though the trailer shows Solo admitting, after denying for years that the Force was anything other than mumbo jumbo that “It’s all true. All of it. The dark side. The Jedi. They’re real,” he’s not gone “New Age Alec Guinness” on us.
“No, there’s not an abandoning of the character,” Ford says, more earnestly than you’d expect from Mr. I-Guess-We-Watched-The-Trailer. “He does not aspire to the position of Obi-‘Ben’ Kenobi, nor do I aspire to be some New Age Alec Guinness. His development is consistent with the character, and there are emotional elements which have occasioned his growth.”
Let’s hope that growth is consistent with getting back together with Leia. Though Ford doesn’t give us that much hope for it. “We spend a lot more time [in the movie] on his failure to master basic skills, like accounting,” Ford says, rubbing his thumb and forefinger together. “And accounting for his own behavior. There’s a lot of the rogue still left in Solo. Some things don’t change.”
One other interesting question: what does he think of that Young Han Solo movie for 2018? He doesn’t say whether anyone has talked to him about it, but imagines that they should probably be talking to the Young Han Solo rather than him. but he does have advice for the younger version of himself:
“Talk to your director. Watch the movies. And welcome aboard. Make it your own.”
And don’t get cocky.